The Friendsville farm of Martha and J.L. Goins was the setting for the Sept. 19 Sunset Harvest Dinner sponsored by the Maryville Farmers’ Market.
It is the second farm-to-table event presented by the organization and was a resounding success as 125 guests enjoyed a meal featuring foods prepared by Chef Peter Glander, executive chef of Ruby Tuesday; Dustin Busby, rounds chef of The Larder at Blackberry Farm’s Farmstead Products; and Maggie Davidson, pastry chef at Blackberry Farm.
Shelly Robinson, marketing and advertising coordinator for the Maryville Farmers’ Market, said the event is about highlighting the foodways of the area.
“We want people to see what Blount County has to offer in ways of sustaining ourselves. We like to show off our farmers and local chefs,” she said.
Guests entering the property were greeted by rows of decorated tables shielded from the mid-afternoon sun by a spacious white tent.
Nearby was an ice-filled galvanized metal tub used to chill libations brought by guests.
As John Dupree of Gritte Fritter entertained the crowd with song, guests lined up to enjoy a spectacular display of antipasto dishes featuring roasted beets, pickled green tomatoes, braised chicken and shiitake mushroom rillette, marinated onions, basil-cured eggplant, elderberry capers, braised carrots and grilled muscadine jam, paired with slender glasses of sumac watermelon lemonade.
At the same time, the chefs were using an out-building as their kitchen, busily preparing a feast using locally grown products.
“No matter what we do, be it at a Ruby Tuesday Restaurant or at the Farmer’s Market, our job is to give back to the community. This is my business, and I love it,” Chef Glander said when asked why he offered his services for the evening.
Dinner featured Benton’s ham poached with fig leaves and sauteed greens, sweet potato ravioli with sweet potato leaves and brown butter, stuffed peppers, eggplant, okra, potatoes and rustic apple tart with Brebis cheesecake covered in a sheep’s milk caramel.
Knoxville residents Lisa Bogaty and husband, Dave, came to the event after she heard about it from a colleague at her work.
“This is fabulous. I love going to the farmers’ market, and to see what people who know what they are doing can prepare with the products is amazing,” she said.
She especially liked the sweet potato ravioli, as did Linda Bower, who resides in Blount County.
“This event is awesome. The sweet potato ravioli, bar none, was the best,” she said.
She attended with friend Kay Dillard, Maryville, who said the grilled onions and muscadine jam were her favorites.
“Food is the culmination of our religion, our geography, our history and our culture. I love coming to things like this,” Dillard said.
For Sarah Watkins, the meal was a gift from her husband, Daniel, in celebration of their fifth wedding anniversary.
The Knoxville couple, who are interested in local foods, tried their hand at gardening and canning this year.
“This is one of the best meals I have ever had,” she said.